Zaigham M, Linden K, Sengpiel V, Mariani I, Valente EP, Covi B, Lazzerini M, Elden H, IMAgiNE EURO Study Group
Women Birth - (-) - [2022-01-24; online 2022-01-24]
Existing healthcare systems have been put under immense pressure during the COVID-19 pandemic. Disruptions in essential maternal and newborn services have come from even high-income countries within the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region. To describe the quality of care during pregnancy and childbirth, as reported by the women themselves, during the COVID-19 pandemic in Sweden, using the WHO 'Standards for improving quality of maternal and newborn care in health facilities'. Using an anonymous, online questionnaire, women ≥18 years were invited to participate if they had given birth in Sweden from March 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. The quality of maternal and newborn care was measured using 40 questions across four domains: provision of care, experience of care, availability of human/physical resources, and organisational changes due to COVID-19. Of the 5003 women included, n = 4528 experienced labour. Of these, 46.7% perceived a poorer quality of maternal and newborn care due to the COVID-19. Fundal pressure was applied in 22.2% of instrumental vaginal births, 36.8% received inadequate breastfeeding support and 6.9% reported some form of abuse. Findings were worse in women undergoing prelabour Caesarean section (CS) (n = 475). Multivariate analysis showed significant associations of the quality of maternal and newborn care to year of birth (P < 0.001), parity (P < 0.001), no pharmacological pain relief (P < 0.001), prelabour CS (P < 0.001), emergency CS (P < 0.001) and overall satisfaction (P < 0.001). Considerable gaps over many key quality measures and deviations from women-centred care were noted. Findings were worse in women with prelabour CS. Actions to promote high-quality, evidence-based and respectful care during childbirth for all mothers are urgently needed.